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Getting help on my journey through grief

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Getting help on my Journey through Grief

It has been about 3 years since I lost my son. Early on I saw a counselor for about 6 months. It didn’t work out for me. I went for a year without any support and then someone in my doctor’s office suggested that I take the RDPCN program Journeying through Grief.

I had a few concerns about attending a group class as I tend to be the caregiver and thought I might focus on others rather than myself. After the first class I was very encouraged. The coaches were great, they shared a lot of their own issues so it became very clear that no one was talking down to me. They have helped me to think more about how to continue my life positively without my son. They helped me plan for anniversaries such as his birthday or the date he died, and plan for positive ways can I commemorate those dates.

I think that I will be able to handle them better this year. I also learned more about things to do for self-care. I knew much of this before but it is different when others tell you.

I will continue to use the class journal. I have reread some of the responses that I wrote down in class and thought more about where I am in my journey. I would definitely recommend anyone with grief take this course. I was happy to have been there and appreciated meeting others with similar issues. It was definitely worth my time.

Visit the Red Deer Primary Care Network to learn more.

Read more stories from the Primary Care Network.

Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) is a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists work in clinics alongside family doctors. In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care. RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community. www.reddeerpcn.com

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Holiday Mental Health – It’s Okay if it’s not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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The stores are stocking up on red and green everything, the shelves are lined with ornaments and dancing reindeer and you can’t ignore it even if you want to – the holiday season is nearly here. 

For many, Christmas means celebrations, decorations, rum and eggnog and time with family. From sledding and snow days to hanging the lights and putting up the tree, there are lots of things to love about the holiday season.
However, for others, there are lots of reasons why it might not be the most wonderful time of the year, and that’s okay too. 

While the claim that suicide rates spike during the holiday season has been repeatedly misused and ultimately disproven as the “holiday suicide myth” (1), the holiday blues are a very real phenomenon. In the midst of the celebratory season, feelings of anxiety, isolation, depression and grief can be overwhelming, particularly when combined with additional stressors such as strained personal relationships and financial uncertainty. Not everyone is looking forward to Christmas, and in the midst of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many people without employment and unable to travel, the emotional toll of this holiday season promises to be increasingly complex. 

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Alberta Division released a statement regarding coping with the holidays during these unusual and uncertain times. 

“The pandemic has disrupted many yearly holiday traditions and has increased collective anxieties and social isolation. As we look for alternative ways to spread joy and take part in new ways of celebrating the holidays, Albertans must focus on their mental health during an already busy and often overwhelming season.”

According to the CMHA, these are some simple but useful ways to maintain your mental health during the holidays. 

Focus on what you can control. Like the food you eat, the time you have a shower or the media you consume.  

Anxiety is normal. During times of crisis it is normal to feel increased anxiety. Acknowledge those feelings are valid. 

Limit your consumption of media. Allow yourself time to focus on activities you enjoy instead. Reading, listening to music or meditating are all great ways to de-stress when you are unable to attend regular holiday festivities. 

Remain connected to your body. Exercising regularly, getting outside, eating well and resting will support positive mental health. 

Be open with your support system. Identify supportive people you can connect with if you begin to feel overwhelmed or lonely. 

Reach out for help. If you or a loved one needs help, call 211 (Alberta only) or the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642. 

As the holidays arrive amid the fog of the ongoing global pandemic, remember – it’s okay to feel confused, frightened, and uncertain of the future. You are not alone, and there are always resources available to help you and your loved ones through these complicated times. Be gentle with yourself and others, ask for help if you need it, and above all, be kind. 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Central Alberta

Understanding My Own Grief was Life changing for Me

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Understanding My Own Grief was Life changing for Me

A personal story:

“…I connected with the PCN program through my doctor’s recommendation. I have always been a thirsty learner of better ways to navigate through life. The Coaches of the program Journeying through Grief showed up every day with their humanness and wisdom.

I appreciated their loyalty to improve our wellness through learning to manage our grief. They were willing to be vulnerable in a way I have never seen in any kind of therapy or counselling. Their own histories with grief nurtured my trust and receptivity to the information.

They shared their personal experiences in dealing with life’s challenges. For me, I would describe my experience as emotional debridement. I am thankful for the contribution and support of everyone in the class. Several of us had mastered supporting others but needed to learn how to do this for ourselves.

Connection with empathy as in this group is nothing less than GOLDEN in creation of a better life of wellness in arguably a better world. Reflectively I now feel that my own grief was due initially to the loss of my dreams too quickly as important people did not believe in me. Not learning how to handle this made subsequent losses more difficult to manage.

I learned that dealing with grief is a journey and to never give up. If things get tough, have faith that things will get better soon…”

About Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN):  We are a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists work in clinics alongside family doctors. In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

Learn more about the Primary Care Network.

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november, 2020

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